The Sourthern Courtois (Cor-Do-Way, in "localese")Section of the Ozark Trail is great for cyclists looking for a little adventure without getting in too deep. You'll get wet to the knees, hit some moderate swithchbacks, and blaze through some terrific rollercoaster sections. Still, there are alot of bailouts. Although it's fun in both directions, I suggest going from Berryman (north) to Hazel Creek (south). This way makes the two, loosest, steepest sections into descents and lets you finish with a great downhill into Hazel Creek -- not a technical climb into Berryman camp! In Fall '02, there was no official map available from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources' OT Coordinator. Instead, get the GPS map from the USFS office in Potosi (573/438-5427), or print it from the link below. Anyway, here are the mileages to go with the map:
- 1.58 Hwy 8 (go straight across the highway, then about 30' right of the cattle gate, to the old road bed.)
- 2+ Lost Creek (knee deep, then your first big hill)
- 3.42 County 601
- 5+ Machel Hollow
- 5.6 County 603 (Hwy 8 is 1.2 miles to your left)
- 7.8 FS 2514/Co.603 junction (This road intersects Co. 603 by a sign which marks the Timberline Savannah. Hwy 8 is about 2.7 miles north on 603. Timberline Lake is about 1 -2 miles west (right) on FS 2514, then south on a spur)
- 8.0 FS2249 (this ends an ugly clear cut and begins a great rollercoaster section.)
- 9.3 Snapps Branch (shallow creek marked with wooden signs, followed by a switchback climb up and over a ridge)
- 9.86 Confusing junction with atv trails, just after a double creek crossing, take a SHARP left. (Double back if you don't see an OT marker pretty soon, or if you pass an old grave stone on your left after 100 yds or so.)
- 13.8 Hazel Creek Campground (Trace Creek, North begins about 100 feet further down the campground road)
This great trail connects Berryman to Council Bluff and Trace Creek for an amazing 75 miles of connected singletrack!
Start clockwise from the Berryman Campground trailhead, just like the Berryman Trail. West of Potosi on Hwy 8 about 15 mi., or east of Steelville about 30 miles, then north up a steep hill at County 207 for about 1.5 miles. The Courtois Section splits off of Berryman about 1/2 mile, clockwise, from the Berryman Campground. The southern trailhead is at Hazel Creek Campground. See those directions in my Trace Creek, North, review.
Summary: This trail is just plain fun. You won't get killed, and you'll cover some cool territory. The trail is all singletrack with several memorable sections. Early on, you'll find yourself sqeezed in beneath a rocky ledge on your left, and a creek 20' below to your right -- really neat. At Hwy 8 (1.58 mi), cross the highway and jog 30' to your right where the trail runs down an old road bed to Lost Creek. After you get your knees wet in Lost Creek, you have your first real climb. At approximately mile 5, you'll be suffering through overgrown Machell Hollow, then get a cool, rocky uphill to Co. 603 (mile 5.6). East of 603, you'll climb up a narrow draw with a wet-weather creek running down sandstone shelves. Back across 603, you pedal up through the Timberline Savannah project (open understory forest) to FS 2514 a few feet from its intersection with 603. Across FS 2514, you have to suffer through 0.2 miles of clear cut, but the payoff is BIG. You get a long rollercoaster section that'll have you laughing out loud. At mile 9.3, you'll cross mossy li'l Snapps Branch, climb several switchbacks, then drop several more to a multiple creek crossing at mile 9.86. Ignore several atv trails, and take the left-most path after the creek crossings. Look for OT markers pretty quickly. The last mile or so to Hazel Creek rewards you with a great, fast, descent. Now, how 'bout another 13 miles to Council Bluffs?
Recommended Route: North to South. Begin by leaving the Berryman Campground clockwise, then pick up the Courtois on your left after about 1/2 mile.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Trace Creek North and South, Karkaghne, Council Bluffs